Pakistani TV station taken off air due to criticism of government
Netizens are slamming the incumbent government and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for suspending ARY News.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) ordered the suspension of the transmission of ARY News in different parts of the country on Monday, ARY News reported.
The channel was suspended for allegedly airing "hateful, seditious and malicious content," according to PEMRA.
Ammad Yousaf, vice president of ARY News, slammed the decision as "illegal and ridiculous," stressing that they would challenge the decision in court.
A PEMRA official confirmed the authenticity of the notice, which directed the channel's CEO to appear for a hearing on Wednesday.
The suspension came hours after the news channel reported that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had launched a systematic campaign against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and chairman Imran Khan on the recent deaths of Pakistan Army personnel in the Balochistan chopper crash.
It was claimed that the first task of an alleged government media cell was to prove that Imran Khan and PTI were anti-army.
Moreover, it was reported on the channel that the PML-N’s strategic media cell, which was activated on June 27, is furthering a narrative to prove Imran Khan as an anti-army politician.
The report aired by ARY News on June 27 regarding the activation of the ruling PML-N’s strategic media cell proved to be true.
It emerged that the PML-N activated its strategic media cell to run a malicious campaign against Imran Khan and PTI to prove it was an anti-military or anti-armed forces party.
ARY is one of Pakistan's biggest private TV channels and has long supported former PM Imran Khan, who has been critical of the country's powerful military since being ousted by a no-confidence vote in April, which Khan accepted despite citing "conspiracy".
The PEMRA notice referred to an appearance on ARY Monday by Shahbaz Gill, an official of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, and alleged he made comments "tantamount to inciting the rank and file of armed forces towards revolt."
PTI said Gill was detained in Islamabad on Tuesday afternoon and the party was unable to locate him, but city police declined to confirm the arrest.
This is an abduction not an arrest. Can such shameful acts take place in any democracy? Political workers treated as enemies. And all to make us accept a foreign backed government of crooks. pic.twitter.com/3NYS1BCjtf— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 9, 2022
Criticism of the country's powerful security establishment has long been seen as a red line in Pakistan.
On Tuesday ARY was broadcasting as normal in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a Khan stronghold, but appeared to be off the air in other provinces -- or was not being carried by local cable operators.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists warned of nationwide protests if the full transmission was not restored.
Read more: Pakistan lawmakers elect Sharif as new PM
Khan was Prime Minister from 2018 until April of this year when he was forced to step down after losing a confidence vote that he said was the result of a conspiracy by the US, which denies the charge.
Shehbaz Sharif was elected as Pakistan's new Prime Minister on 11 April 2022, the leader of the centrist PML-N, and was the only candidate after Khan loyalist and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi withdrew his candidacy and resigned his seat.
#ShehbazSharif, #ImranKhan's successor, has a remarkable history of corruption along with his family.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) April 11, 2022
Does Sharif's election confirm the ex-PM's claims of #US meddling in #Pakistan's internal affairs? pic.twitter.com/W7TeR4nVCQ